Sunday, November 27, 2011

Horatio Alger and the American Dream

The American Dream can be considered as a national ethos of the United States in which freedom includes a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success. The American Dream is symbolised as life being better and richer and fuller, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement regardless of social class or how you were born.
Alger's stories including ‘Ragged Dick’ have inspired generations of people to strive for greatness, no matter the odds. The young adolescent ‘Richard Hunter’ struggles against poverty and adversity to rise to success through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty.

The website I have looked at focuses on people who have had simple or hard early childhood problems but have not let them use these as permanent deterrents in their lives. This website reinforces the myth and strengthens the saying that ‘it’s not how you start but how you finish, that counts’. The writer also suggests that young people need to remember Horatio Alger stories as they provide hope but also freedom and that their dreams if they work hard enough can relate into reality. ‘Through hard work, perseverance, and character.’ All characteristics that help ‘Ragged Dick' empower himself. The writer Daniel McLaughlin, clearly believes in the Horatio Myth as he declares that he has seen it happen as he writes about his own personal account of someone who turned their life from ‘rag’s to riches’.

However, an interesting point to make it that Horatio Alger American dream consisted of ‘Ragged Dick’ getting an education, getting a job that pays enough for him to support himself, something that everyday people achieve. The Horatio myth can be seen to have changed as Daniel McLaughlin views it as only being reserved for people who now make millions or billions people like the guy who owns Microsoft, KFC and Tiger Woods.

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